photo credit: Benji Dell
The rise of Grand Central Market is well documented. After nearly 100 years of business, the downtown food hall has been revisioned into something close to the Magic Kingdom of food tourism - and it’s hardly slowing down. Head there today and you’ll be met with terrible parking, long lines, crowded aisles, and Doug and Pam from Toledo throwing elbows until they get the seat they want (spoiler: it’s the one you’re in). There’s certainly great food to be had down here, but at some point it begs the question - Is it even worth it?
When it comes to Wexler’s - always.
The NYC-style deli waltzed into GCM a few years back and almost overnight became the headline at the downtown food market. So what’s the fuss about? The pastrami. Cured and seasoned in-house every day, this is easily the best pastrami LA has seen in years. And in a town with Langer’s and Canter’s and Brent’s and Art’s and Greenblatt’s, that’s not nothing. The no-frills O.G. on rye is the easiest way to understand just how good their pastrami actually is, but for our money, once you order that MacArthur Park you’ll never go back. Pastrami, coleslaw, swiss, and Russian dressing piled high on rye, it’s an obvious homage to Langer’s famous #19, but gives the classic an uncomfortable run for it’s money.
But it’s not all about the pastrami either. Prior to 11am, you can get a breakfast that rivals a certain egg-centric food stall around the corner. Wexler’s lox and bagel might not be the best in town, but it’s still very good and at $13, a complete steal. The Ruskie with egg salad and pickles is surprisingly light, all on a fresh-made Kaiser roll we wish they sold by the dozen. Their morning menu perhaps isn’t as successful as their afternoon one, but if you’re roaming around DTLA early, it’s still a great option.
Above all else though, you get the sense Wexler’s actually gives a sh*t. Each sandwich handed out here matters to the people behind the counter, and that’s why whether it’s a Reuben, tuna salad, lox, turkey, or pastrami, it’s going to be good. Sure, the idea of driving down to GCM can be a painful one, but when the people down there are putting in the effort, maybe you should too.
By putting a direct homage to perhaps the most famous sandwich is LA (Langer’s #19), Wexler’s announced they we’re ready to compete with the big boys. Can they? Absolutely. The house-cured pastrami is rich, smoky, and barely requires chewing. Combine that with the cole slaw, swiss, and russian dressing on top, and they’ve got something special on their hands.
A tad simple for some, but if you’re looking to get that pastrami and not many bells and whistles, this is the way to go.
Bagel, Lox, Cream Cheese
Along with their meat, they smoke their lox in-house every day as well. Only served till 11am, you’ll have to get down there early to get it, but you should. Because it’s very good.
One of the few menu items that are served both before and after 11am, this won’t exactly jump off the menu at you. But the egg salad is surprisingly light and that Kaiser roll might be the best bread in the place.
Is this the real star of the breakfast menu? Yes. Bagel, lox, egg, and onion might seem like overload at 10am on a Saturday, but trust us - it’s exactly what you want.
When a sandwich this good is overlooked, you know Wexler’s is doing something right. Only served after 11am, this sandwich boils down to the corned beef and sauerkraut. And how the people at Wexler’s know precisely the correct portions of each.